On 29 July, a group, Arrive Alive Road Safety Initiative, reported that over 12,000 people die in Nigeria every year, as a result of accidents related to motorcycle taxis, popularly known as Okada. That figure translates to about 33 people killed every day!
Speaking at a road safety campaign programme in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the Coordinator of the group, Mr. Ike Okonkwo, disclosed that about 30,000 people are also seriously injured by such accidents annually, many of them left with permanent disabilities. He added that over 70,000 families and dependents are also indirectly affected by the accidents annually.
The campaign programme, organized under the theme: “Truck/Motorcycle Safety: A Time for Action”, was intended to sensitise all road users and stakeholders on the need to be cautious and more responsible in their use of roads. Sponsored by Chevron Nigerian Limited in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), it also included the presentation of over 1,000 safety helmets and other safety devices to commercial motorcyclists and motorists.
Urging commercial motorcycle operators to always wear safety helmets, Okonkwo said: “The helmets do not prevent accidents but help protect the Okada riders and passengers from sustaining head injuries that could lead to death”. One road safety consultant said several studies of brain injuries resulting from road accidents suggest that use of helmets could reduce such injuries by up to 85 per cent.